Göta Canal

The marina at Sjötorp at the start of the Göta Canal is part of a large campsite with plenty of facilities. We arrived too late to make use of them buut recieved a warm welcome from the lock keeper and what appeared to be the entire local population of mossies. 

During the peak summer season transitting boats can take as long as they want to transit the canal, but out of peak season you are escorted through on either a three or five day itinerary. Hal had been signed up for the three day transit, definitely not enough time to do the canal justice, however we only had two weeks to make it from Henan to Stockholm so had to opt for the shorter trip.

We were assigned two lock keepers for the day who would drive alongside the lock with us and operate the locks and bridges. Most of the bridges were remotely operated from a central location but each lock required someone present to operate it.

Our destination for day 1 was Motala, some 53 nautical miles, 21 locks and 2 lakes away. Most of the morning was spent perfecting our process of rising in the locks;

  1. Drop a person at the landing dock at the lock entrance
  2. Manoeuvre into lock alongside the port wall
  3. Pass up bow and stern line to shore person
  4. Make stern line as tight as possible
  5. As water level rises, take up slack in the bow line
Occasionally we would beat the lock keeper to lock, Dr F found the time for a quick dip at one point.
For the rest of the day we were predominately heading man made section of the canal which took us through mostly farmland.
Occasionally our muscle power was appreciated by the lock keepers.
Towards the end of the day one we had a beautiful sail across Lake Viken. This was the highest point of the canal at 91.8m above sea level. The lake was followed by some rather narrow channels and then the first ‘descending’ lock.
We said goodbye to our lock keepers (and the other yacht that had been travelling with us) at about 2030 in Karlsborg and headed out by ourselves across Lake Vänern. We reached Motala at 2330 and tied up in the dark immediately outside the lock ready for day two.
Day two started at 0800 with an introduction to our new lock keeper. They day consisted of 33.8nm, 22 locks and a couple for lakes. The day started off sunny
But clouded over by the time we met our only cruise ‘ship’ on the canal.
The skies cleared for our final night on the canal which we spent just the other side of this bridge having waited for this scheduled high speed train to pass.
The final day was relatively short. We even managed time to run to the shops at Söderköping for victuals including some delicious ice cream.
An hour later and after one final lock, we exited the Göta Canal at Mem and headed into the Baltic.

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